Many people tout the benefits of Yoga for reducing chronic back pain and many studies have shown that physical therapy is more effective than taking pain medication. So which is more effective, Yoga vs. Physical Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain?
A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that yoga was just as good as physical therapy for reducing pain and increasing mobility. While clinical guidelines and many large-scale randomized controlled trials endorse yoga as a reasonable first line approach, physical therapy still remains the most common reimbursable, evidence-based, non-pharmacologic therapy prescribed by doctors.
Yoga is a great way to maintain pain relief once the initial phase of back pain is addressed by a medical professional. But caution needs to be addressed when considering Yoga as a primary method for treating chronic low back pain. First, the cause of low back pain is different for everyone and needs to be addressed individually. Secondly, Yoga instructors are not medical providers, so they aren’t trained to recognize potential risks when performing certain movements.
Physical Therapy is great to help address increased bouts of pain and help educate the patient about what precautions they should take with any exercise program, including Yoga. Also Physical Therapy, is covered under most insurance plans, while Yoga is not.
Most people would benefit from practicing Yoga as a maintenance program between physical therapy services in treating chronic low back pain.